Bus route 8: Liverpool Street to Bow

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Bagels, baltis and an indoor beach: starting at Victoria, the number 8 trundles through the City, past the gleaming towers of Bishopsgate, before heading out on a whistle-stop tour of east London

  • Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

    Route 8.jpg The route passes hip Brick Lane, multicultural Bethnal Green Road and bustling Roman Road Market on the way to historic Bow, where the old-school ambience appeals even to the cooler young residents.

    Liverpool Street
    During the week, London’s old financial district is a scrum. At the weekend, however, the historic streets around Liverpool Street are a delight. Jump off the bus and walk via the Gherkin and the Lloyds Building to admire the iconic modern architecture. The area is becoming a gastronomic hot spot with dozens of great eateries around Spitalfields Market alone. Have Sunday brunch at Canteen (Spitalfields Market, E1 6DW, 0845 686 1122, map: R6), then walk it off with a stroll down Petticoat Lane Market (map: R6).

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    Sunday UpMarket 

    Brick Lane
    Brick Lane is about much more than bagels and curry – you’ll find cocktails and bowling at All Star Lanes (95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL, 7426 9200) and rare tunes at Rough Trade East (91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL, 7392 7790), not to mention the wealth of vintage clothing and accessories shops.

    The Bethnal Green Road end of Brick Lane really jumps on Sundays, when the street is filled with browsers checking out the shops and street vendors selling all kinds of interesting bric-a-brac. Of course, the Lane is justly renowned for its Bengali restaurants if you’re craving a curry, or for a quick bite head to the famous Brick Lane Beigel Bake (159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB, 7729 0616), open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    Young, up-and-coming fashion designers are to be found aplenty at the Laden Showroom (103 Brick Lane, E1 6SE, 7247 2431) and at UpMarket (Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL, Sun 10am-5pm). UpMarket has steadily expanded to about 150 stalls, selling edgy fashions, accessories, vintage clothing, crafts and a huge range of delicious world foods.

    Also worth seeking out is Rosa's (12 Hanbury St, E1 6QR, 7247 1093), a cheap, cheerful and staggeringly good Thai restaurant, across the road from Absolute Vintage (15 Hanbury St, E1 6QR, 7247 3883) and a few doors from famous boozer the Golden Heart (110 Commercial St, E1 6LZ, 7247 2158), the hangout of the doyens of the Britart scene.

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    V&A's Museum of Childhood

    Bethnal Green
    Tiny Redchurch Street is full of intriguing art galleries, shops and bars. On the corner of Boundary Street, the recently opened boutique hotel, café, restaurant and deli The Boundary (E2 7JE, 7729 1051) is soon to open its Rooftop Bar & Grill, which promises to be a great location for summertime drinks.

    Check out the cinema and art installations at the nearby Rich Mix (35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA, 7613 7490) before hopping back on the bus. As you head east along Bethnal Green Road, the feel is old-school London, with an array of greasy spoons and local shops. Nestled in the middle, E Pellicci (332 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 0AG, 7739 4873) isn’t just any old East End caff. Built in 1900, it’s a listed building with a marquetry-panelled interior created in 1946 by local carpenter Achille Capocci. Oh, and the chips are fantastic, too.

    From old-school to nu rave: the Star Of Bethnal Green (359 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 6LG, 7729 0167) is an unmissable boozer for post-party people, featuring top-notch DJs most nights of the week. Foodies take note, as they’re in the process of implementing a full menu.

    Straddling the old/new divide, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club (44-46 Pollard Row, E2 6NB, 7739 2727 is still full of bemused older members eyeing up the young, vintage-dressed crowd who come here for everything from saucy club nights to retro shindigs – party like it’s 1959!

    At Bethnal Green tube, get off and walk north for the V&A's Museum of Childhood (Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 9PA, 8983 5200). The RIBA Award-winning entrance adds a modern presence on Cambridge Heath Road. The grown-ups can explore the history of dolls, teddies and games, while the children play with the dressing-up box and the indoor ‘beach’ – it’s even got sand.

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    Cheshire Street

    Cambridge Heath Road
    A short walk north from Bethnal Green tube and the vibe changes at Vyner Street off Cambridge Heath Road. It’s famous for its art galleries; best in show is currently Wilkinson (50-58 Vyner St, E2 9DQ, 8980 2662). Head to this area on Saturdays, or for Time Out’s First Thursdays, when the galleries stay open until late for free on the first Thursday of the month. A fabulous destination spot nearby is Bistrotheque (23-27 Wadeson St, E2 9DR, 8983 7900), a restaurant with neo-cabaret most nights. Fashion junkies shouldn’t miss the weekend jumble sales at the Salvation Army (70 Mare St, E8 4RT, 8985 4410).

    Bow Wharf
    Hop off the bus just after crossing over Mile End Park and walk a few minutes north on Grove Road to reach the Bow Wharf arts, retail and studio complex at the junction of the Regent’s and Hertford Union canals (221 Grove Rd, E3 5SN). Grab a bite at one of the Bow Wharf favourites, the Thai Room (8880 6500) or the Fat Cat café and bar (8983 4353) before an evening of comedy at Jongleurs (0844 499 4062). Regulars there include comics like Time Out favourite Addy Van der Borgh.

    Roman Road
    The bus heads east along Roman Road, where there is an eclectic mix of independent shops, like record store Rhythm Division (391 Roman Rd, E3 5QS, 8981 2203) and Zee & Co (454 Roman Rd, E3 5LU, 8983 3383) which is great for menswear. Saturday is the best day to go, when Roman Road Market is in full swing. Don’t miss the recently added Saturday farmers’ market and art and craft stalls.

    Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

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A short walk north from Bethnal Green tube and the vibe changes at off Cambridge Heath Road. It’s famous for its art galleries; best in show is currently Wilkinson (50-58 Vyner St, E2 9DQ, 8980 2662). Head to this area on Saturdays, or for Time Out’s First Thursdays, when the galleries stay open until late for free on the first Thursday of the month. A fabulous destination spot nearby is Bistrotheque (23-27 Wadeson St, E2 9DR, 8983 7900), a restaurant with neo-cabaret most nights. Fashion junkies shouldn’t miss the weekend jumble sales at the (70 Mare St, E8 4RT, 8985 4410). Hop off the bus just after crossing over Mile End Park and walk a few minutes north on Grove Road to reach the Bow Wharf arts, retail and studio complex at the junction of the canals (221 Grove Rd, E3 5SN). Grab a bite at one of the Bow Wharf favourites, the (8880 6500) or the (8983 4353) before an evening of comedy at (0844 499 4062). Regulars there include comics like Time Out favourite Addy Van der Borgh.The bus heads east along Roman Road, where there is an eclectic mix of independent shops, like record store (391 Roman Rd, E3 5QS, 8981 2203) and (454 Roman Rd, E3 5LU, 8983 3383) which is great for menswear. Saturday is the best day to go, when is in full swing. Don’t miss the recently added Saturday farmers’ market and art and craft stalls.Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

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